Elderly cousins dead in apparent murder-suicide, police say

By: Dave Faherty


LENOIR, N.C. - Police are investigating after they said two 74-year-old men died of an apparent murder-suicide inside a Lenoir home Wednesday afternoon.

Officers said Johnny Church and Gwyn Kirby were found inside their house on SW Clearfield Place around 4 p.m.

Both the SBI and Lenoir Police Department were at the home investigating after Kirby and his cousin, Church, were found dead.

Police said Friday that the results of the investigation overwhelmingly indicate that the deaths are a murder-suicide, and at this point, and there is no evidence that anyone else was involved. 

Family members told Channel 9 that the two men grew up together and cared for each other after suffering strokes.

Their bodies have been sent to the medical examiner's office for autopsies.

Neighbors are in disbelief. 

“To see that happen like that is unreal, because the neighborhood is so quiet,” neighbor Anthony Moody said. “You don't have any incidents like that. It's just that quiet. You can sleep on your porch if you want to."

Investigators said it may be until Friday before they know the autopsy results and are able to release more about their investigation.  

Anyone who may have information about the deaths is asked to call Crimestoppers at 828-758-8300.

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